The interim government of Fiji has formally approved the establishment of the Council of Sugar Cane Growers (CSCG) to administer the affairs of the sugar cane growers.
A statement released this afternoon says Cabinet based its decision on a submission by the Prime Minister and Minister for the Sugar Industry, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.
The CSCG replaces the dissolved Sugar Cane Growers Council in the Master Award.
The Council will be made up of 11 members, eight from the growers (1 from each District), and three from Government (Commissioner Western, Commissioner Northern, and one from the Sugar Ministry), with one of the Commissioners to be appointed Chairman.
The government says Bainimarama as the Minister responsible for Sugar, will appoint the Board on the advice of the Permanent Secretary for Sugar.
Bainimarama says the Council will take any steps it sees necessary for the protection and development of the industry and the interest of registered growers.
Its particular role will be to provide advisory assistance to registered growers on goods and services relating to the business of cane-growing and agricultural diversification; and make representation to Government and relevant stakeholders in the industry to safeguard and further the interest of farmers.
“The Council will also promote peaceful co-existence and harmonious relations between all stakeholders in the industry; oversee the operations of the District Offices of CSCG; act as a primary source of information and advice to Government on matters pertaining to sugar farmers and the business of growing, harvesting and transporting cane; and establish, hold and administer funds and property for the benefit of registered growers.”
Funding to meet the operations of the CSCG of about $500,000 and $600,000 per annum, will be met by the growers themselves through a general levy at the rate of about 24c/mt based on a crop size of 2.3million mt.